from my 1st Ebert’s Great Movies Marathon, part 3 of 13

Title: Vertigo
Year: 1958
Length: 129 minutes
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: Alec Coppel & Samuel A. Taylor, based on a novel by Pierre Boileau & Thomas Narcejac
Starring: James Stewart, Kim Novak
With: Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore, Henry Jones, Raymond Bailey, Ellen Corby, Konstantin Shayne, Lee Patrick
Music: Bernard Herrmann
Cinematography: Robert Burks
Editing: George Tomasini
Oscars: nominated for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration and Best Sound
I saw it: on video a couple times, most recently a few days ago (rented from Netflix)
Synopsis: a retired cop is hired to follow a woman whose husband claims she’s possessed

My reaction
Concept:3/4 (Good)
Story:3/4 (Good)
Characters:3/4 (Good)
Dialog:3/4 (Good)
Pacing:3/4 (Good)
Cinematography:4/4 (Great)
Special effects/design:3/4 (Good) The design is great. The special effects are pretty sad.
Acting:3/4 (Good) I love Jimmy Stewart, but he is horribly cast in this movie. Besides being too old, his persona is at odds with the character’s development.
Music:4/4 (Great)
Subjective Rating: 8/10 (Great, 4/4 (Great)). Suspenseful, fairly unique, and unmistakably 1958. It’s kind of two different movies, one after the other. About two thirds of the way through the film, the first story comes to a climax, things twist around, and a new story starts in a different direction. The first time I saw it, that bothered me a lot, and I wasn’t really able to get into the second story. Watching it a second time, it’s like a completely different movie. The first section now seems like prolonged set-up to the second section – which, now that I’m not distracted by having the rug pulled out or by Stewart’s miscasting, I can appreciate as having some of Hitchcock’s strongest moments.
Objective Rating:3.3/4 (Very good)

[update of a previous post – original is here]


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